Following in the very stylish footsteps of Alexa Chung, Erin Wasson, and Karlie Kloss—to name a few—model Candice Swanepoel is the newest face of Free People. Today we have THE exclusive first look at the brand’s July catalog, out this Monday, in which the blonde beauty sheds her signature bombshell style for an edgier take on one of fall’s most anticipated trends: western.
We spoke with Free People’s Art Director, Lauren Cohan, about mastering the brand’s effortless look, the right way to wear fall’s fringe trend now, and more. Keep reading for a sneak peek at the catalog and our complete interview.
What was the inspiration behind changing Candice’s signature look?
The inspiration was actually Candice herself. One of the first Polaroids I was ever sent of Candice was this great shot of her in a simple white tee and jeans and no makeup, and she looks effortlessly beautiful, which is so much the essence of Free People.
Is there a formula for creating Free People’s signature style?
It’s a collaborative combination between casting, styling, hair and makeup, and photography, and it all kind of rests upon the foundation of everything being effortless. Our casting is so essential, especially finding girls who actually have the same kind of attitude to bring to the clothes when we’re shooting them. If a girl can throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, and feel confident and comfortable, it looks amazing. We really try to par down our hair and makeup, because it’s really more about attitude than anything.
What was the fashion focus for the July catalog?
Our July is really Pre-Fall, so it’s a precursor for what’s to come for the entire season. It was focused on the western vibe, which has a lot of leather, plaid, and fringe. It was about taking these western influences, which everyone is so excited about for fall, and simplifying them. You’re not going to wear the cowboy hat with the fringe boots and the poncho, but rather, taking one of those elements and adding them into a very simple look, which on someone like Candice looks so cool. It’s a very accessible way to try the trend without going too over the top.
Do you have any rules for wearing fringe this season?
I think the most important thing is to wear only one fringe item at a time. If you’re wearing a fringe poncho, style it with a distressed t-shirt and shorts to make sure the look is a bit more simple and urban. It’s really about making sure that all of the other items are not as big of a statement as the fringe piece.
What’s a great way to look sexy without having to actually show a lot of skin?
It’s all about confidence. I think feeling good about what you’re wearing no matter what you’re wearing is the key ingredient to feeling sexy.
What was your jewelry motto for the July campaign?
Our accessory focus was on layering necklaces that go along with the western theme. In order to toughen up Candice’s sweetness, we relied on a lot of ear cuffs, which gave her that extra edge. The accessories are really strong in this book. We’ve got these great statement chocker necklaces that, with a longer pendant necklace, can look really fresh. We’re also really excited about our more delicate rings and just piling them on.
Do you have a favorite look from the shoot?
Candice was so beautiful in the maxi length purple dress, but I was so excited with what’s on the cover. She is in the shaggy sweater and over-the-knee boots. I also love the pair of black and white checkered pants and the slip-on shoe. That is what I plan to buy from the collection.